Back to Blog

Cardiff debate – The Sustainable Community Building: Refurbishment vs New Build

Posted on 6 December 2010

Written by:

Guest Author

By Jaina Patel

The second debate in our series took place at Chapter in Cardiff on Thursday 25 November 2010. Once again the panellists and audience members raised and discussed a range of issues relating to the sustainability of the community building in the contexts of new builds and refurbishments.

Our panel of speakers in Cardiff were David Tyler, Chief Executive of Community Matters, Alan Gillard, Principal, Gillard Associates Architecture and Design, Kelvin Jones, Chief Executive, Gorseinon Development Trust and Marco Gil-Cervantes, Chief Executive, ProMo-Cymru.

Marco and Kelvin provided honest and frank accounts of their own experiences of taking ownership of a community building and highlighted the challenges and opportunities that they encountered. They each showcased their journey and the effect their community buildings have had on the local people and neighbourhood. While their experience and the buildings themselves were quite different, Marco and Kelvin’s stories demonstrated how important sustainability is not only for the local environment but also to reduce running costs. They were also able to give clear example of the impact of design decisions on the way the buildings are used, managed and enjoyed.

Alan was able to explain the challenges faced by architects when taking on a community development project and how important it is to work collaboratively with local people throughout the design process. He was also able to point to both the opportunities and challenges of both new build and refurbishment projects, making it clear that it is essential to assess each project individually. David discussed the importance and value of community assets in the current climate and the impact the current Big Society agenda and emerging Localism Bill could have on local communities and community buildings.

There is a dedicated page on The Glass-House website which captured the points from the presentations and discussion.